Tourism sector can drive economic development

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kimberley - Tourism Deputy Minister Thokozile Xhasa has singled out the tourism sector as a vehicle to drive global economic development, if it is managed well.

Xhasa pointed out that tourism is one of the major contributors to South Africa's Gross Domestic Product while the sector has created one million jobs both directly and indirectly.

According to Xhasa, while the current economic recession has had a negative impact on the economy, tourism has helped the country sustain the impact of the global downturn, adding that in 2008, South Africa welcomed more than nine million visitors to its shores.

With only 254 days until the kick-off to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Xasa said tourism events like this give South Africans an opportunity to promote the country.

The world cup provides an opportunity for meaningful, sustainable and inclusive implementation of the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment that ensures the improvement percentage directed at blacks and women suppliers in particular.

South Africa today, celebrated World Tourism Day in the Northern Cape under the theme, "Tourism: Celebrating Diversity."

27 September was declared World Tourism Day by the United Nations in 1979. It is a day where the tourism industry worldwide celebrates the impact of the tourism sector on world economies as well as on improving the lives of people.